24 Sep 2018

Class gets underway for the 2018-2019 MILE and TRAIL+ programmes

This year’s MILE and TRAIL+ students officially began their courses on 17 September, starting with Global Political Economy, International Economics and International Trade Regulation.

The students come from Zimbabwe, India, South Africa, Brazil, Russia, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Peru, Taiwan, and Switzerland, and were officially welcomed at the Opening Ceremony of the 2018-19 WTI Advanced Master Programmes, which took place in the Silva Casa Auditorium on Thursday, 13 September.

Peter Van den Bossche, the WTI’s Director of Studies, opened the ceremony by reminding the audience of the current “ship on the water” outlook of the multilateral trading system, a common metaphor in the WTI’s recent opening and closing ceremonies due to the uncertain circumstances of the current multilateral trading system and the WTO. Van den Bossche told the students they would have the opportunity and responsibility to keep the multilateral “ship” afloat once they progress into their professions in the field.

The ceremony’s keynote speech was given by Ambassador Markus Schlagenhof, Delegate of the Federal Council for Trade Agreements and head of the World Trade Division in the Foreign Economic Affairs Directorate at SECO. He spoke on the topic of The Shape of International Trade to Come: Challenges and Opportunities. Amb Schlagenhof indicated that the current state of affairs in the international trade world is more challenging now than ever before, but that these uncertain times might be a catalyst for positive change at the WTO, “I cannot help but believe, honestly, that today’s difficult times may actually give birth to opportunities to reform and modernize the WTO and the multilateral trading system.”

Prof Manfred Elsig, Deputy Director and Director of Research at the WTI, closed the ceremony, which was followed by an apéro in the WTI’s cafeteria.

On Sunday, 16 September, Peter Van den Bossche took the new students for a walk on Bern’s Gurten mountain, and afterwards hosted them at his house for an apéro.